On the prowl for a sit in kayak or maybe solo canoe

I am a 5’6” 175 lb curvy female, will probably paddle mostly around lakes, creeks/rivers, extremely slow to nonmoving bodies of water, mostly day trips. I would like to be able to toss that baby on the top of my very tall Sequoia by myself. Something easier to paddle would great (due to arthritis). I borrowed a friends yellow Pelican the other day and it wore me out! The design I do like is the Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119. I like the seat and that it is slightly elevated, and I really like being able to reach all my stuff.
I have been reading and researching off and on for a year. I am still discovering new brands every day.
Any direction is very much appreciated.

Sassysouth, my friend has an Ocean Venus she is very happy with. She has used it on lakes and a couple of below Class One rivers.
Most boats that suit your needs will be in the 50 pound range, that’s a fair amount to get on the roof by yourself.
The shade that in Sit In provides can also be hot in our Southern summers. I like to drop my legs into the water to cool off. I would think about all the implications of a Sit In.

As you said “sit-in” kayak, check out the Eddyline boats. The Sitkas are all under 50# They also offer sit-on-top boats. All constructed of thermoform, which is light weight compared to rotomolded boats.

You can find solo canoes that weight less than 20 pounds, but they are expensive.


You mentioned the Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 and it runs a bit heavier than what you might like to load on a tall car rack as a 5’6” person. Other than that it sounds like it would be perfect for you on the water where the weight of the boat isn’t going to be an issue. This type of canoe has the benefits of the canoe with seating and being open and all the good stuff a rec-kayak would offer. I wanted something similar only a little larger and I converted a tandem OT canoe to be a larger version of the OT Solo 119. It is really nice IMO to paddle a solo canoe with a kayak paddle.

Getting back to solo loading I’m a 6’ guy that used to be stronger than I am now at 65. my canoe is about 80# and I could get it on my car alone with a lot of risk involved and with a helper it was still a bit much but much more easy a task. But I couldn’t always count on a helper. We normally haul two boats my 14’7” canoe and her 10’ 45# rec-kayak and to be honest I don’t care to put her 45# boat up solo ether.

I came up with a DIY solution that works for both boats and works from ether side of the car. I haul both upside down on flat cross bars and I have found I can load hers first hull down and slide it across and flip it and then load my canoe hull up really easy by myself.

I made the two ladders out of 2x2 pine boards and they pin to the cross bars at the top. When I get the boats loaded I haul the ladders along side the boats. At 6’ tall I can do it all standing on the ground as my car is not that high. You maybe would need a folding step stool to get the height and be safe.

My opinion is even with a 20# expensive canoe you may still have trouble with the height and awkwardness of loading especially if it is windy out.

Here are a few pictures of a budget way to get around a slightly heavy boat getting on and off your car. There are expensive loading devices on the market if DIY is not something you can manage. :canoe:IMG_1184

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If you like the concept of the Old Town you own, there are quite a few similar products available that are much lighter. Unless you find a used one or a demo for sale expect to pay quite a bit more than the OT cost you. Lightness usually comes at a price…
Look at the Pac Boats and similar:
Swift and Hornbeck and Wenonah to name a couple.

I own a Swift Adirondack Pac 13.6. At 26 lbs. it’s quite easy to load, unload and carry to the water. You probably would do well with something in the 12 ft. range.

Good luck to you with your hunt!

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As mentioned above, I love the idea of the light pack-boat canoes. They were way out of my price range and the idea of a 20# boat sounds like a dream for me. I don’t know how rugged they are, but I do know if I spent that much on a canoe of that weight I probably wouldn’t take them out to 80% of the places we go as we end up in shallow water dragging bottom over rocks or skidding them up or down a bank where there is no other way to do it. Having the OT rec-kayak that’s tough roto-molded single layer or the OT canoe that is 3 layers we see the new scars to the poly after each outing as normal wear and for what we have in them when the time comes we will repair or replace. There is some comfort in knowing this is what they are made for. But there is that weight penalty.

I bought a $40 kayak dolly that folds up and I strap it to the canoe with two hook cam straps at the car. I then load the canoe with a good size cooler paddles PFDs and all the other stuff to take along. Then we set the rec-kayak on top and attach it with a hook cam strap to the thwart on the canoe. I put the air tires on the dolly right at the balance point in the center of the canoe and the whole thing rolls effortlessly to the ram. I have had to park 500 yards before from the water and I would hate to think of all the trips back and forth especial after take out when you are tired.

Things like the dolly and the loader make living with a heaver boat a must and sometimes it seems we are having an easier go of it than people with lighter equipment. We did an outing for the fire company a few weeks ago where there was 450 people paddling everything you can think of. After we paddled all day a guy watched me loading the canoe and came over and offered help and I said no I got it. He was one of the volunteers helping to keep things moving. He told me after I had it strapped down I probably had one of the 10 heaviest boats on the float and I had it on the car easier than any of the other 450.

I was directed to Crescent Kayaks by 2 people yesterday. I love the Ultralight. Still heavy at 49 pounds, but I love the openness.

Pack canoes are essentially deckless kayaks and paddled typically with double blades from a low seat. Yes there are exceptions
Hornbeck is the most budget friendly for initial layout
My Placid Boatworks Rapid Fire is initially expensive but over 16 years its seen some 2000 paddling days so its been a good investment for the long haul
Part of the reason for lots of use is its 23 lbs and not fragile ; the lighter the more incentive to use